Joel McHale on Magic | "Teller-izing"
True to the genre, he was very funny, very charming, and commented A LOT on what was happening around him. Now, you take that man and show him magic, and some funny things are bound to happen, such as what follows...
One moment that hit me right in the middle of the interaction is when I asked if he had a favorite number, to which his response was, “No, I’m not an idiot.” which was actually pretty damn accurate. And honestly, I’d been performing this particular routine (shoutout Robert Ramirez) for about a week at this point in time out in the world, and had this not been brought to my attention by Joel, I probably would’ve continued saying the same nonsensical phrase that I ran across while learning it.
No one has a favorite number.
Shit, while even some people may have a “lucky” number, it’s still all very silly to ask for either of those by name when in fact all you’re trying to show (as the magician) during this point of the magic effect is that different stuff can happen with different numbers, and it doesn’t have to be of the magician’s choosing. “What’s your favorite/lucky number?” is a completely arbitrary phrase that’s inserted in there, and by it’s nonsensical nature, it only has the chance to take people out of the effect, and disengage them from the situation.
To be a little more direct, I arrived at my currently used phrase -- probably to be updated in the future -- : “Go ahead and say any number besides Seven or Zero.” I’m coining this reduction/simplification of a piece of magic dialogue to be “Teller-izing” the effect, named after Teller’s own reasons of not including any verbal scripting within his effects. After hearing Teller talk about this idea a few times (yes, he talks outside of performance), I find his main argument to be like spreading out a deck of cards in front of someone while saying “Pick a card” is just redundant, because both the physical action and the verbal action are showing the exact same thing. Better to just spread the cards out and gesture, without saying a word. Or, leave the cards on the table, hand them to the participant, and ask them to pick a card themselves. But in both of those situations, there’s no redundancy, and there’s no silliness.